No Joke: History Tells How Lawyers Got Bad Rap

DLA Piper, one of the world’s biggest law firms, is being sued for overbilling in a case the New York Times notes will not help the public’s opinion of the legal profession. According to a Slate.com article in the Crossville Chronicle, lawyers unfairly earned a bad reputation beginning in the Middle Ages. The perception that lawyers were greedy opportunists continued through the Renaissance and into the early modern age. By the 18th and 19th centuries, lawyers were commonly disparaged in joke books and compared to the devil in literature and drama.